Learning From and Preventing Failure in WASH

Rebecca Sindall, Dani Barrington, Esther Shaylor

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle in specialist publicationpeer-review


Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) failures continue to be discussed mostly off the record, with professionals the world over repeating one another’s mistakes. Failure is difficult to talk about, but WASH failures have negative impacts – money is wasted and sometimes people are harmed. We need to acknowledge that not everything we try will succeed, but that if we learn from one another, we can continuously improve our work.

Since 2018, we have attempted to foster this change through the ‘WASH Failures Movement’. This issue of Frontiers of Sanitation is a compilation of what we’ve learned about why WASH failures happen, how we can address them, and how we can facilitate a culture of sharing and learning from failure in the WASH sector.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages35
Specialist publicationFrontiers of Sanitation
PublisherInstitute of Development Studies
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2023


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